Amari and the Night Brothers Review #Gifted
Thank you so much to @EgmontBooksUK and Dave @WriteReadsTours for gifting me a copy of Amari and the Night Brothers to review! I volunteered immediately for the blog tour upon reading the synopsis and I am so pleased that I did. This is going to be the book that kids fall in love with in 2021.
Title: Amari and the Night Brothers
Author: B.B. Alston
Publisher: Egmont Books
Published: 21st January 2021
Age Range: 8+ (Middle Grade)
Issues Raised: Bullying, racism, social prejudice
Goodreads: Add me here!
“Amari Peters knows three things.
Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .
So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.
Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.
With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .”
Amari and the Night Brothers Review
Amari and the Night Brothers is a wild and wonderous fantasy adventure that is full of magic. The first thing that we learn about Amari is that she doesn’t feel like she belongs. Her world is turned upside down when her brother, Quentin, goes missing. All Amari wants to do is to find him and bring him home. She believes that the private academy that she attends on a scholarship is more his world than hers. Unbeknownst to Amari, her brother is about to introduce her to a magical world that more epic than she ever could have imagined.
There is a plethora of great, fun characters in this story but the star of the show is definitely the protagonist.
Amari is a fantastic character. She is realistic, strong, brave and extremely likeable. As a Black girl, Amari has had to deal with prejudice her whole life but, like every great heroine, she is ready to prove her doubters wrong. From the very start of the novel I was on her side, ready to join in with her adventure. The author’s foreword to the book is beautiful and explains how Amari “with her brown skin and curly afro”, is the reflection of himself that he never saw in books growing up. I am so pleased that a new generation will have a great heroine in Amari. No child should feel that they don’t belong on a magical adventure.
Every great heroine needs a villain and this book is no exception. We learn of the Night Brothers, who are dark magicians with too much magical power. Whilst one brother takes the spotlight though, who might be helping them from the shadows? I began questioning who I trusted very early in the book and I couldn’t wait to find out if I was right about various characters.
My favourite character, other than Amari, is her room mate Elise. She is one of those characters that you just love immediately. She is fun, quirky and, surprisingly, a dragon.
I have completely fallen in love with how this book is put together. Amari and the Night Brothers is what happens when Men in Black meets the world of Harry Potter. The mentions of the Bureau, agents and advanced technology immediately took me back to one of my favourite 90s films. As did how Amari discovers a secret world that co-exists with her own Known World. The extensive magical world however feels you with a familiar wonder, except this time we have great representation in our heroine. I love that advanced technology meets magic as it so refreshingly contemporary. Finally we can have both in one story!
The plot, the pacing, the writing are all brilliantly done. I love B.B. Alston’s imagery and their descriptions in relation to the magical world. For the sake of spoilers, I won’t say any more but I’m sure they will capture your imagination as much as they have mine.
Themes and Issues Raised
As I have already mentioned racism and social prejudice feature in the story. These issues are approached in a very careful and gentle manner but with the realism and authenticity that only an own voices novel can bring. They are part of Amari’s story, as they are sadly a part of reality for many children. Amari inspirationally keeps fighting for herself and for what is right. I believe she will be a real inspiration to a lot of children.
“There is a great strength and joy to be found in simply accepting and loving yourself for who you are.” – BB Alston
Family is a strong theme throughout the novel and it is so nice to have sibling love at the heart of the plot.
From the second I opened Amari and the Night Brothers I knew I was in for a wonderful adventure. It weaves together so many of my favourite fantasy features including magic, magical creatures, a secret world, a fantastic protagonist. On top of that we have advanced tech, which gives the novel a uniquely refreshing and modern take. It is everything that you could wish for in a middle grade novel and I don’t hesitate in recommending it you! This should be the first book that you buy in 2021. It will definitely be mine. What a brilliant series this is going to be.
If you are looking for more middle grade books then please check out my review of my book of the year, The Beast and The Bethany, here.